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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

The SDFHS Blog

Putting Somerset on the early photographic map

Somerset’s first professional photographer was someone about whom relatively little is known, even amongst photographic historians He was Thomas Sharp (1806-1896), who was born in London, but who lived much of his early life in North Devon This blog post records our efforts to have Sharp recognised as the photographer responsible for a portrait which until now has been credited to Roger Fenton, perhaps the best known early photographer Photograph: Major-General Charles Ashe Windham -...

The Greenwood Tree – June 2021

The front cover of the June edition of The Greenwood Tree shows a 19th century painting of a lawyer’s office to illustrate the theme of Wills The caption “Where There’s a Will … There’s a Won’t”, suggests that some of the most revealing information we extract from ancestral wills may involve those who are deliberately omitted from an inheritance or left something derisory Distant family feuds are hard to find in other ways Editor Paul Radford previews the edition which will be...

Victorian Utilities

Under the Floorboards at Beaucroft House, Wimborne Following on from the House Histories Edition of the March 2021 Greenwood Tree Magazine and subsequent blog about the Victorian Loo, I would like to expand a little further When the family moved into "Court House", the Western wing of "Beaucroft", there was some modernisation required to the plumbing and electrics Up came the floorboards and revealed all sorts of pipes and cables installed since 1876  There was a network of bare...

‘Chilliswood’ Connection

Your recent feature on house histories in The Greenwood Tree reminded me that amongst my grandfather’s (Leonard Guy Bradfield) possessions was a set of 1913 auction particulars for ‘Chilliswood’, a residential estate in Trull, near Taunton in Somerset I often wondered why he kept these and whether there was any family connection with this house It was a substantial estate In its centre was a Tudor manor house dating from 1594, along with gardens and a tennis court There was also a...

Women, ‘Gateway Ancestors’, and Sources

Many of us, when we first become interested in family history research tend to focus on our surname and try to trace it back as far as possible Certainly this was my approach when I first started some fifty years ago A few years after I began I found a distant 'cousin' Hugh Pitfield who was also researching our family We combined forces and have co-operated ever since Image - Fine Art America The result is that we now have a comprehensive genealogy of the PITFIELD family that Hugh has...

Member and Guest Blogs Welcome

We welcome guest and member blog posts on any topic with a family history connection and invite you to send your contributions, which should include photo/photos, to the editor Barbara Elsmore